African countries pledge to double agricultural productivity as development banks and institutions announce US $ 17 billion in funding to boost food security



African countries pledge to double agricultural productivity as development banks and institutions announce US $ 17 billion in funding to boost food security

A coalition of multilateral development banks and development partners announced at a high-level forum this Friday, investments of more than US $ 17 billion to fight rising hunger in the world. African continent and strengthen food security.

These funds were announced following a two-day high-level dialogue entitled Feed Africa: leadership to scale up successful innovations. This event was organized by the African Development Bank and the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in partnership with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) and the Organization of the CGIAR System, on 29 and April 30.

In addition, 17 African heads of state have pledged to increase agricultural production by doubling current productivity levels through the large-scale deployment of agricultural technologies, investments in market access and promotion of research and development in the agricultural sector.

The various parties adopted a press release concerning these commitments at the end of the event.

Of the total amount of financing indicated, the African Development Bank (AfDB)has announced an envelope of more than 10 billion USD. It is committed to investing US $ 1.57 billion in priority development of ten selected commodities over the next five years. It helps countries achieve self-sufficiency. It is also allocating USD 8.83 billion to consolidate these commodity chains over the next five years. In particular, they will finance programs aimed at creating employment opportunities for young people – especially young women.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina said, “Let’s start today a stronger, larger-scale partnership to bring technologies and innovations to the service of hundreds of millions of women and men farmers. “Farmers”.

IFAD has indicated that it intends to mobilize an additional US $ 1.5 billion for Africa to support government actions to transform food and agricultural systems over the next three years. It will also invest more in creating the conditions necessary to increase agricultural productivity. The constitution of an investment reserve aimed at restoring land, creating jobs and strengthening resilience in the face of climate change in the Sahel. The aim is to contribute to the objectives of the Great Green Wall initiative and to create 10 million jobs in the region by 2030.

“We welcome the commitment of African leaders to increase agricultural productivity and improve food security for millions of Africans,” said IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo. “Thanks to the modernization of the African agricultural sector, smallholders will be better able to produce food more affordable for consumers and to ensure decent livelihoods for millions of young people involved in processing, storage and processing. food marketing. “

The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa has pledged to invest up to USD 1.5 billion in the agricultural sector over the period 2020-2024. The Islamic Development Bank Group has said it will allocate US $ 3.5 billion to agricultural sector development in Africa over the next three years. These investments will aim to promote the development of sectors, both for food crops and cash crops.

Joining the coalition of development partners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said in a further gesture of solidarity that it is investing US $ 652 million over the next three years. This funding will support research and development initiatives in the agricultural sector in Africa. The goal is to promote the advancement of 300 million women and men farmers through a series of innovations.

Senegalese President Macky Sall summed up the interventions of African heads of state on Thursday by articulating a list of actions in seven points:

  • Accelerate agricultural production by deploying technologies on a large scale
  • Increase investment in research and development
  • Optimizing technologies
  • Improve the language of business in the agricultural sector to promote openness to the world
  • Access to markets and establishment of basic infrastructure and equipment
  • Invest in new businesses for the processing of agricultural products and support for small producers
  • Create a support mechanism for agricultural transformation

These different courses of action were set out in the forum press release, which also emphasized the importance of a financial mechanism for food security in Africa. It was agreed that such a mechanism would help build climate resilience and mainstream efficient agricultural technologies. In particular, it would provide the opportunity to benefit operators of digital innovations across the African continent, while making it possible to better fight against malnutrition and stunted growth in children.

Sub-Saharan Africa has a quarter of the world’s arable land, but it accounts for only 10% of global agricultural production. The low productivity of staple crops makes African agriculture uncompetitive. Thus, a third of the calories consumed on the continent are imported, which reinforces the vulnerability of food systems and the dependence on external food chains.

The results of the high-level dialogue held this week will contribute to the discussions that would take place at a preparatory meeting in Rome in July, ahead of the United Nations Summit on Food Systems, scheduled for later this year. They will also be taken into account during the Summit itself, which wishes Africa to speak with one voice in order to strengthen initiatives and partnerships in favor of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. .

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